Written by Emma Bacon, WLLC 2015-2016
My experience with the 5 minute journal was mixed. I was in a car accident that weekend and had another rather traumatic event occure the week before. Needless to say, an activity focused on being grateful and the positive things going on in my life was very difficult for me. That whole week had been very traumatic. At the beginning of the practice, thinking only of the good and being grateful for it was a positive distraction and even helped ground me. However, as the week went on, I felt like I kept ignoring and even devaluing the fresh negative experiences that kept playing over in my mind. While being mindful of ones privileges, being grateful, and being positive is important for ones wellness, acknowledging and processing the negative aspects and events in ones life is equaling important for wellness.
As Lisa LaDue describes in “My Journey to SE,” she discusses how she coped with her trauma through Somatic Experiencing. She states, “[I] began the painful, rewarding process of addressing my own trauma and learning how to help others relieve their suffering. The training [was] instrumental in helping me find and access my true strength and abilities as I progressed through the SE training.” In her experience, addressing her trauma and resolving it was vital to moving on from it. In addition, in an adaptation of Dr. Peter Levine’s “Waking the Tiger, Healing the Trauma”, it describes that whenever trauma victims “began to recite the story of what happened to them, along with the account of danger and panic there was always something pleasurable and life afﬁrming.” It is clear that though being grateful and positive is important for wellness, addressing and working through the negative is equally important. Live is full of both things to be grateful for and things we wish we could forget, and it is when we find a balance between them that we are truly well.